The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), NFL FLAG, Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX) and the Atlanta Falcons today announced the 2021 NAIA Women's Flag Football Finals May 4-8 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
This is the first-ever, NAIA Women's Flag Football Finals, capping off the inaugural season of NAIA women's flag football.
In 2020, the NAIA announced a partnership with NFL FLAG and Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX) to develop league infrastructure and operations for the first women's flag football competition governed by a collegiate athletics association. In its first season, 13 NAIA schools established women's flag football programs.
10 teams will compete in the 2021 Women's Flag Football Finals including Milligan University, Kansas Wesleyan University, Keiser University College of Golf, University of Saint Mary, Midland University, St Thomas University, Webber International University, Xavier University of Louisiana, Ottawa University and Cottey College.
"For the last 14 months we have worked hand in hand with the NFL, NFL FLAG and Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX) to make Collegiate Women's Flag Football a reality in the NAIA. To have an opportunity like this for our schools and student-athletes to culminate their season and celebrate year one will provide a great experience for all involved," said Austin Bennett, NAIA Director of Special Events & Sport Sponsorships. "Thank you to the Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and RCX for supporting this event, this sport, and these young women living out their dreams."
Participating teams will each play in at least two games during the 2021 Women's Flag Football Finals to determine seeding for the championship bracket. Bracket play will be single elimination, with the championship game being held on Saturday, May 8. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit https://www.atlantafalcons.com/girls-flag-football.
NFL FLAG will serve as event operator, producing and managing all games, while the Atlanta Falcons will provide on-site support at Mercedes Benz Stadium.
"NFL FLAG is incredibly proud to be a part of this event and to help commemorate the inaugural season of NAIA Women's Flag Football," said Executive Director of NFL FLAG Izell Reese. "Increasing female participation in flag football has been a top priority for NFL FLAG and events like this are proof that we are making important progress."
During the NAIA Women's Flag Football Finals, NFL FLAG and the Atlanta Falcons will host the NAIA Flag Showcase on Friday, May 7, also at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The NAIA Flag Showcase invites high-school aged, female flag football athletes to demonstrate their skills in front of NAIA coaches, learn about eligibility rules, and earn potential scholarship opportunities. College coaches from NAIA women's flag football teams will be in attendance.
"We are thrilled to host the inaugural NAIA's Women's Flag Football Finals and NAIA Flag Showcase at Mercedes-Benz Stadium," says Atlanta Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay. "Our organization has seen the appetite and enthusiasm for women's flag football first-hand at the high school level in both Georgia and Alabama, and we are excited to see it grow on the collegiate level as well. We feel Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to Super Bowl VIII, is the perfect location for the culmination of the NAIA's inaugural season."
Through monetary support, the Atlanta Falcons have made the NAIA Flag showcase free to all girls that choose to participate. This is part of the Falcons larger initiative of growing the game of girls flag. In addition to sanctioning and expanding the game in Georgia, the Falcons recently helped sanction the sport in the state of Alabama
Registration for the NAIA Flag Showcase is open now. However, attendance will be capped at 130 athletes due to COVID-19 restrictions.
For more information on NAIA Women's Flag Football visit www.naia.org/sports/wflag/.
ABOUT NFL FLAG
NFL FLAG is an NFL-licensed property of more than 1,600 locally operated leagues and over 500,000 youth athletes across all 50 states. NFL FLAG is a fun and accessible non-contact program available for girls and boys ages 5-17. Players benefit by being physically active through non-contact, continuous action while learning the fundamentals of football as well as lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship. Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX) is the official operator of NFL FLAG.
ABOUT NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF INTERCOLLEGIATE ATHLETICS (NAIA)
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., is a governing body of small college athletics programs that are dedicated to character-driven intercollegiate athletics. NAIA members provide more than 77,000 student-athletes with opportunities to play college sports, earn $800 million in scholarships and compete in 27 national championships. www.naia.org | @NAIA
ABOUT MERCEDES-BENZ STADIUM
Opened in August 2017, Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a world-class sports and entertainment venue in downtown Atlanta and home to the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons and Major League Soccer's Atlanta United. The multi-purpose stadium is host to major sports and entertainment events, including the Super Bowl in 2019, College Football Playoff National Championship game in 2018 and is the first professional sports stadium in North America to achieve LEED Platinum Certification by the United States Green Building Council. Mercedes-Benz Stadium is proud to be collaborating with naming rights partner Mercedes-Benz and 11 founding partners, which include Coca-Cola, Equifax, The Home Depot, Novelis, SCANA Energy, Truist, IBM, Georgia Power and American Family Insurance.